Online petition for supporting Italian aerospace research - 6/8/2010
As the economic crisis is raging on Europe, some governments are planning funding cutbacks in several fields,including aerospace research. One of these governments is the Italian, who is planning to perform dramatic cuts to several cultural and research institutions, including among others the funding that the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) assigns to the Italian Aerospace Research Center (CIRA) as a contribution to the management, maintenance and updating of the research facilities.
Our regular visitors must know that CIRA is the mastermind -among several other projects- behind the recent success of the second flight of the USV (Unmanned Space Vehicle) an automated flying laboratory created to study the dynamics of flight as a test bed for the development of a future space plane. The latest flight of the model under a stratospheric balloon launched from the Tortoli-Arbatax airport in Sardignia was carried out on past April.
After Berlusconi's government put CIRA in a "useless entities list", a group of concerned citizens are expressing their support with the Centre asking the MIUR not to reduce the funding allocation, both because of the specificity of the Center and to avoid an adverse effect on its development and on the survival of the aerospace research in Italy.
All of you, willing to join their support campaign must go to the website of Petition Online and sign the petition to the Italian Government to drawback their intentions.
Should this no happen, the result would be inevitably the deterioration of the capital already invested (estimated at one billion Euros) in over 25 years of activity for the construction of research facilities that are unique all over the world. In addition, such situation would compromise the leadership role that the Italian Aerospace Research Center plays for Italy within all the international organizations devoted to research and technological development in the field of aeronautics and space.
:: Petition Online
All NASA balloon operations halted - 6/1/2010
Alice Springs, Australia.- The NASA panel sent to Australia in middle May to investigate on the field the mishap that occured during the launch of the NCT (Nuclear Compton Telescope) which resulted in extensive damage to the payload and to a car stationed in the launch field, completed his work and returned to the United States. The next phase of the investigation will demand at least two or three months of work to complete the report to be submitted to the authorities of the agency.
A first preliminary consequence of the investigation is the final cancellation of the Australian campaign. By the time of this writing all CSBF personel as well the remaining people of the scientific team of the last instrument that waited the campaign resume (HERO telescope) would be back in United States. A second consequence is that the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility is not authorized to launch any other balloon mission in the short term.
NASA balloon program suffered several catastrophic failures in the past, even more spectacular than the recent Australian mishap, but the worldwide coverage of the event, make a big difference. In the past the agency managed to not get any negative publicity and performed investigations internally to correct and improve the processes, but the degree of exposition of the NCT event probably will lead to deeper action.
It's not clear, at this time, how all this will affect the operations, but probably the effects of the flight restriction will have a direct impact in the more immediate campaigns: Palestine (TX) and Sweden in summer, and Fort Sumner (NM) in the fall. Also another enigma is if will be carried out the integration process of the payloads intended to flight in the 2010/2011 Antarctic campaign.
We will try to obtain more information on this. Stay tuned.